Color, Seeds, Thread, Buttons & Music by Debussy, Jalbert & Shaw

Postcards of Matisse’s Blue Window (1913) and Bonnard’s Table in Front of the Window (1934-35) called out for construction paper cut-outs. As if that weren’t enough, I scouted among our shelves, where I spotted an ancient packet of watermelon seeds and put them to use.

Postcards of David Hockney paintings bedeck silhouettes of a two-handled Etruscan globular cup (6th C BC). The collage doesn’t feel finished, but I’m leaving it sit for now.

I’ve been tempted for a while by a postcard of Krishna Riding a Composite Elephant (ca. 1790-1800), but I was avoiding the irretrievable act of cutting it up. That elephant, along with a post card of Pears and Grapes on a Table by Juan Gris (1913) kept beckoning, so finally I gave in.

Listening List

Debussy’s L’Isle joyeuse (1904), performed by Marc-André Hamelin.

L’îsle joyeuse was inspired by Watteau’s painting Embarkation for Cythere. Read more about L’Isle joyeuse here.

Pierre Jalbert’s Secret Alchemy (2012), performed by Vicennium Void.

Jalbert writes: “Though this piece is not programmatic, imagining the air of secrecy and mysticism surrounding a medieval alchemist at work provided a starting point for the piece.” The complete program note is here.

Caroline Shaw’s Blueprint (2016), performed by the Aizuri Quartet, for whom it was written.

Shaw writes: “Blueprint, composed for the incredible Aizuri Quartet, takes its title from this beautiful blue woodblock printing tradition as well as from that familiar standard architectural representation of a proposed structure: the blueprint.” Read her complete program note here.


Credits: Sources for the quotations may be found at the links in the text.






A Concatenation of Birds, with Music by Lembit Beecher

I’ve been sorting through stacks of postcards, looking for ones that might suggest a starting point for a collage. One I kept coming back to contained an image of an illustrated manuscript folio entitled “The Concourse of the Birds.” Continue reading

With Her Back To the World

The first time I saw a painting by Agnes Martin (or at least it was the first time I paid attention) was at the Dia:Beacon in 2007. The quotation on the wall appealed to me then and has ever since:

I want to draw a certain response. . . . Not a specific response but that quality of response from people when they leave themselves behind, often experienced in nature—an experience of simple joy. . . . the simple, direct going into a field of vision as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean. Continue reading

January Miscellany: Hoffman, Schubert, and Marie Vieux-Chauvet

Playing around: The image of a Hans Hoffman woodcut in an arts magazine proved an irresistible impulse for coloring between the lines. After all, I’d collected dozens of colored pencils some time back (they looked so very appealing on display in a local arts and stationery shop) and they’d been neglected for far too long. Spare buttons discovered in a winter decluttering session, a leaf stamp and ink pad, a couple British stamps, and a magazine image of tiles all got their moment in the sun as well. Continue reading

December Miscellany, with Lois Dodd & Germaine Tailleferre

Two Red Drapes and Part of White Sheet (1981)

I think you survive if you don’t fit anywhere.
—Lois Dodd [Faye Hirsch Monograph, p. 10]

Best is to view Lois Dodd’s paintings directly, as we did this week at the Alexandre Gallery.  If, however, commentary is desired to supplement the looking, listen to Dodd herself: Continue reading